8 March 1996

Quick colostrum for hypothermia

NEWLY-BORN lambs must receive colostrum and milk early in life if they are to avoid hypothermia, says Dr Elwyn Rees, ADAS senior livestock consultant.

He recommends producers ensure singles, weighing about 5.5kg (12lb), receive 250ml (0.3 pints) of milk each feed, culminating in 1000 litres (1.6 pints) within the first 24 hours. Twins, weighing about 4kg (8.8lb), require 250ml (0.3 pints) each feed, and must have received 800ml (2 pints) by the time they are a day old. Triplets, weighing an average 3.2kg (7lb) at birth, should have no more than 150ml (0.2 pints) each feed, totalling 600ml (0.7 pints) within 24 hours.

"These guidelines just demonstrate the large amount of colostrum which needs to be produced by the ewe," says Dr Rees.

He also recommends producers try protecting lambs with coats. "They certainly seem to help and have been reasonably successful."